America’s Epidemic: How Opioid Addicts Find Help in the Church

Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra | August 31, 2017


Jim Quigley had been sober for four years and was one semester away from graduating from Bible college when his stopped car was rear-ended by someone going 50 miles an hour.

“I ended up having two artificial discs put into my spine,” he said. He also ended up with a prescription for opiate painkillers.

“I was allowed to have eight pills a day if I took them like the label said,” he said. “But in my mind, if I took all eight at one time but no more, I wasn’t really abusing them.”

A month after surgery, his prescription ran out, and he quit using. But he fell back into alcohol and drug abuse and, three years later, came back to prescription opiates.

“My last year down in Florida, I was in the hospital three different times for pneumonia related to my substance abuse,” Quigley said. “I was an IV drug user. I had used dirty needles, and had cellulitis [skin] infections. I almost lost my hand. I was in three crisis stabilization units for suicide attempts. One time I took so much medication that I was in a coma for four days.”

Quigley’s previous church had a…


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